Dubai: It is perhaps the most misunderstood musical instrument, often jokingly regarded as the ‘nude piano’ with a limited repertoire. But the harp is nothing but that, as renowned British harpist Catrin Finch will prove on her debut concert at the Madinat Theatre in Dubai on March 25.
Finch’s harp recital is part of The Score Classical 2013, a music series launched last November by The Fridge to bring an international classical music act to Dubai once a month.
Her concert pieces will include Debussy’s Claire de Lune, Bach’s Prelude, and some new compositions including one done by The Score’s Composer in Residence, Joanna Marsh, called ‘A Short Handbook of Djinn’ inspired by Arabic culture.
Finch, who, at a young age of 20, served as the Royal Harpist to Prince of Wales from 2000 to 2004, is passionate about promoting the harp and classical music to a new and wider audience, including the UAE. She started playing the harp at six years old after being inspired by Spanish harpist Marisa Robles, and has been playing the harp since.
“The harp is a more difficult instrument in the world of the classical music,” Finch told Gulf News ahead of her concert on Sunday.
“It doesn’t have the repertoire that is regarded as being very serious, not like a violin or piano where you can go and play a Beethoven piano concerto. Sometimes, the harp has difficulties being regarded as a solo instrument.”
It is this reputation of the harp that pushes Finch to strum her melodies over and beyond the regular chords, and to change prevailing audience perceptions.
“Classical music has a lot of preconceptions and I have spent many years fighting people’s perceptions of the instrument and I was keen to change it. I want to show people what it can do which is why I do projects arranging and composition to show the best things can be done with this instrument,” Finch said.
Asked why she chose the harp of all musical instruments, Finch said that it’s the other way around.
“Sometimes things just become a part of you and for some reason I believe I had a natural affiliation with the instrument. I was obviously a musical person wanting to be with music and I suppose the harp found me.”
Though at the moment, classical music can hardly compete with pop music in many audiences, including Dubai’s, Finch thinks that the future of the classical music world actually looks bright.
“With recent discussions about Classical crossover there is a fine line between what people regard as serious and not so serious about Classical music and there’s no point fighting it. At the end of the day, you have to give the audience what they want. I think the classical music world has to change and that young classical artists are changing things,” Finch said.